Jan 06

Update: The method still works on KDE SC 4.4

Konsole is the X terminal emulator of KDE. I find having the terminal out of my way, but always open and easy to reach out to, very convenient. It also looks cool. 😉 With KDE SC 4.3 you can easily achieve this with a few clicks without the need of any additional software.

Here is how to do it:

1> Open up a Konsole window.

2> Move the window at the position on the Desktop where you want it to appear. I like having it at the top left corner of my screen.

3> Right click on the Konsole window and deselect “Show menu bar”

4> Right click again on the window and click “Edit Current Profile”

  • In the Tabs Tab select “Show Tab Bar when needed” under Tab Bar Display
  • In the Appearance Tab select the colors of your choice and then hit “Edit” on the right. Move the “background transparency” bar to 100%. You can also create a new custom scheme and set your preferred fonts here.
  • In the Scrolling Tab under Scroll Bar options, click on Hidden.
  • In the Advanced Tab you can change the settings for the cursor to match your needs.
  • Hit OK when you are done.

5> Right click on the Konsole’s window title bar and select Advanced >  Special Application settings

a) Go to the Geometry Tab

  • Click Position and Force. The numbers shown here are the coordinates of the window. If you placed the Konsole window at step 2 correctly, then you don’t need to change anything here. For top left corner “0,0” should be entered.
  • Click on Desktop and Force. Then choose on which desktops you would like to embed the terminal to. All Desktops selected for me here.

b) Go to the Preferences Tab and enable and force these options:

  • Keep below
  • No border
  • Skip taskbar (for Konsole not to be shown on your taskbar)
  • Skip pager (for Konsole not to show an icon in the Pager widget)

c) Hit OK when your done.

6> We are almost done here, we now only need to make Konsole automatically load when logging in.

  • Open System Settings
  • Click on the Advanced Tab and select Autostart.
  • Click on Add Program on the right and locate Konsole (it’s under System) or just type “konsole” in the space there and hit Enter.
  • Hit OK (probably twice) and close the System Settings window.

7> We are done! You can restart your PC to check if all went as planned.

Voila the result on my Desktop:

Keep in mind:

– If you want to open a new Konsole window, it will maintain the above settings.

– Alt+F3 will bring up the menu for right clicking on the title bar of the Konsole’s window.

– Right clicking on the Desktop area where the Konsole lies will not present the Desktop menu but the menu for right clicking in the terminal.

– An option to hide the Konsole Window when hitting Alt+Tab doesn’t seem to exist. If you have a workaround on this do tell.

– Whats more, the Konsole will disappear when  “Show desktop” is attempted.

– If you have  “restore session” enabled in System Settings>Advanced Tab>Session manager, you need to exclude the konsole from restoring, or it will (sometimes) run two instances of the Konsole when you restart KDE. (thnx to truzicic for this tip!)

14 Responses to “Embed the Konsole (Terminal) to the Desktop in KDE 4.3”

  1. truzicic says:

    hey, cool trick… However, konsole acts funny when it comes to editing profiles… And, if you have “restore session” enabled in Session manager, you need to exclude the konsole from restoring, or it will runs two instances of program when you restart kde…
    Thanks for howto, I didn’t know that kde has so many options 🙂
    Sorry for bad English 🙂

  2. Alternatively, try an app named yakuake – while it does not embed into the background, it allows you to open/close a terminal with a single keypress.

  3. tetris4 says:

    @ truzicic
    Thnx for the tip, that actually happened to me on a couple of times, I will update the post and include it!

    @Dennis Murczak
    It’s true that Yakuake can do smg similar to this. You can also add the Plasmacon widget on your Desktop.
    I tried to go for the “no added software” way here and in the same time show-off some of the very cool new options available with KDE SC 4.3

  4. johnb says:

    Alternatively, lets keep Konsole use to an absolute minimum.

  5. DiBosco says:


    Why? Seriously that’s a mystifying statement..Konsole is an incredibly powerful tool – I’ve got one open all the time on my flavour of Linux. There are other, slower ways of doing all the same things with numerous mouse clicks, but when you do the same thing over and over, sometimes a few strokes of the keyboard can save loads of effort.

    Agreed, for the less computer literate people, GUI tools are needed, but really, it’s a crazy thing to suggest other, more experienced people shouldn’t want alternative and quicker ways of working.

  6. Slackat says:

    Good!!, very good, thanks

  7. EkoPrasetiyo says:

    thanks for the tutorial.
    I try it on KDE 4.4.3 on kubuntu lucid and it’s works

    but on step 5 above I am trying with special window setting instead and there is another step that I try differently to match my needs

    I am planning to translate this tutorial to Bahasa Indonesia, I’ll link back to here if I am done.


  8. tetris4 says:

    Feel free to translate what you like..
    And let me know how the method you are trying goes..

  9. Chris says:

    I came across this when trying to find a shell plasmoid. This works fairly well but completely destroys Konsole. Now I’m going have to figure out how to reverse all the damage caused by the advice above.

    If you are looking for a shell plasmoid, do not follow the advice above, it will destroy Konsole.

  10. Chris says:

    Go to System Settings / Window Behavior / Window Rules and the delete konsole to repair most of the damage caused by the above advice.

  11. tetris4 says:

    I guess I should add this to the “have in mind option”.
    But the idea is, if you have the konsole window already open, you will not need to do much with another konsole window. And you can always start a new tab with Ctrl+Shift+T. Adding a new profile could help also.
    If you want a plasmoid for this, make sure to checkout the plasmacon widget that I mentioned in the comments above.

  12. vishnu says:

    Not an ideal way.

  13. mycow123 says:

    After quite some time of fiddleing around I found out what to do about some problems mentioned above. With the following fixes it’s REALLY what it’s supposed to be (with KDE’s own capacities):
    Copy /usr/bin/konsole to /usr/bin/konsolebackground (or whereever the konsole binary file is stored on your system) The advantage: We now have a NEW programme, so making changes to the konsolebackground programme won’t mess up the usual konsole.
    Second make a new profile, call it “Shellbackground” for example.
    Execute the following command:
    konsolebackground –profile “Shellbackground”
    Do all the Window title bar > Advanced > Special Application settings like described above, but DO AS WELL: Window Type > Force > Desktop.
    Now our konsole window is handled as it’s meant to be: as a desktop background. In particular it won’t minimize when hitting “Show Desktop”.
    Finally (with konsolebackground still running), save the current session (in opensuse 12.3 this is done in the kmenue) and select to restore the saved session after login in your system settings (in the startup/logoff section). Done.
    It seems more natural to avoid the session saving and just try the autostart approch described by tetris4 (with the command:
    konsolebackground –profile “Shellbackground”
    rather than just:
    However this didn’t work for me.
    Anyway by applying those settings I now have a great “Desktop Background Console”. Also the focus behaviour is good: It has the focus whenever you click “Show Desktop” or when the last window is closed.
    There is only one (minor) obstracle: It doesn’t have focus right after login, so one mouse click on the desktop is required.
    Does anyone know, how to script kwin to set focus to the application called “konsolebackground” right after login??

  14. imnofox says:

    I’m not sure if this existed in KDE 4, but to stop Konsole from hiding when clicking the ‘show desktop’ button, under ‘Appearance & Fixes’ ypu can set ‘Window type’ forced to ‘Desktop’.
    That way it doesn’t hide.

    Not sure if there’s any point commentign on such an old article, but I still visit it so what the heck?

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